Monday, October 10, 2005

Walking a little funny

Well it's all over and we did it! We finished in 4 hours 20 minutes, which was our exact goal! How about that! I wanted to write a really long detailed post about how I felt during the race, before the race after the race but it was all so exciting and crazy that it's hard to recollect any of it!

At the beginning I think we should have warmed up and stretched a little bit in at all. It was a bit cold and we were in the pens with about 40 minutes to go. We probably could have warmed up and stretched at the location we chose in the pen. This might have proved useful later on in the race. We started talking to some other newbies next to us who also seemed a little on edge. Then we started moving forward and slowly but surely the starting gates got closer.

Oh my gosh and then we are running and there are millions of people around us, on the course, on the sidelines cheering us on. I am in awe of how many other crazy people have decided to run this race. Almost immediately I see someone wearing a Maine East high school sweatshirt, which is my alma mater. I scream at him, "Hey Maine East! I went there, that was my high school" He smiled and waved and probably thought that I was only a little crazy.

A little bit after our first mile we see our family and friends wearing all red with big red signs that say, "Go Leah, Go Jason....." I start jumping and running and trying to get their attention, we run right in front of them and throw our long sleeve t-shirts at them and we are on our way to more miles.

We run the loop downtown and I am amazed. It's about 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday, the streets are not only packed, but music is BLASTING through the streets of downtown Chicago. It's unbelievable. I am overwhelmed with everything.

We start to head north and as we continue in this direction we start to run in more and more familiar territory. We run by Lincoln Park Zoo, and then I really know where we are because we are running right next to the Lake front path, which I have run on thousands of times. I know this area by heart. All of a sudden we are at Addison Av and I know to start looking for our family and friends. There are literally thousands of people at the corner of Addison and Broadway all screaming and cheering and wait, there is the family. Run by and say hi, grab some candy from them and we are gone.

We continue up Broadway and the road we are running on looks like something out of a TV commercial. The road is packed with runners, the spectators have moved in on the street and are going crazy. Wow. I really can't get over how many spectators there were at this point in the race.

We get to mile 10 and all of a sudden I realize that my knee is starting to get a little stiff. Great I think, I am only at mile 10 and my leg is starting to hurt. We go another mile, stop for some Gatorade walking through the stand a few steps. Alright we are back on it. I realize that we are not yet half way, my legs hurt and I start to get a little negative. We keep moving forward and wait, we are near mile 12 where is the family. Oh there are the red signs, run near them and wave!!!! Can't believe they made it back south to see us.

Alright, almost halfway now. There is the sign, check my watch. It's take 2:07 to get here. If we can keep this pace we'll make the 4:15 goal we had set. But my legs are killing me. We keep going, get to the Gatorade stand at 15 miles and walk through it. One of the volunteers says, "Now the slow ones come...." and I yell back, "HEY, we aren't slow we're fantastic!!!!" Everyone around me cheers. Alright, back on the running thing. But I have to stretch my legs. Alright, Alright. Legs stretched. Break is over. 10 miles to go. Let's get on it. I tell Jason that this is horrible and I'm never doing this again. He says, listen if we just keep running the miles will come and go and we'll be done. I think, well of course. So we stay on it.

At mile 18 there is a stand for some of this power gel stuff. I look for the tangerine flavor because I remember that this one is double caffeinated and thought it might help my brain. I take the top off it and push some of the most awfully gross goop into my mouth. YUCK. I quickly get to the water stand and take some water to get the taste out of my mouth. I realize I should have taken all of the goop right before the water, because then maybe itwouldn't have been that bad. Oh well. Time to keep going.

We get to mile 20. Well this is what it's all about right. This is the part that you train for. So now I get my mind into finishing mode and I'm on it. All of a sudden I hear my name and I see my best friend Corey and her Husband and baby. I peel to the side to give her a hug. I can't believe that she found us in the crowd. Total boost of energy hits me and we are on it. There is mile 21 we are about to enter china town. Wait Wait there are some red signs. Wave at the family and grab some candy. One bite of snickers bar, and then some Gatorade at the next stop. Getting close now.

The miles start peeling off for me at this point. Mile 22, 4 miles to go. I remember when we were training and every time we would get to the point where there was 4 miles to go I would say, "anyone can run 4 miles". I had this distance photocopied in my brain. I knew I could do it now.

We come up on Sox Park and I know this is as far south as we will have to go. Mile 23.

Mile 24!!!! I realize that when we get to the next mile marker there will only be one mile to go. There it is. Mile 25. Right after this is a sign that says, One Mile to Go.

I can feel it now. The girl in front of us says this is it; this is what she has been training for the past year. The crowds are huge, everyone is screaming. We make the turn onto Roosevelt, and then turn onto Columbus; there it is the Finish Line. I hear someone screaming my name. It's my Dad. I can't believe he made it to the finish line. Jason and I grab hands and cross the line.

I am overwhelmed just thinking about it again and apparently I do remember a lot about the race. Just had to get it all sorted out.

I am proud of us for keeping the same pace throughout the race. I know that our first 3 miles were at 10 minute miles, and I am guessing some of the middle ones were faster or slower. But we only walked when we got Gatorade or water. We didn’t walk at all if not at one of these stands. The aid stops are so crowded anyways, and crazy and slippery that there was no real need to run through them and bounce Gatorade all over yourself. At the end many of the people that had passed us earlier in the race were walking and we were running by them. That made me so proud of us for sticking through it all the way!

I have to thank our family and friends for being there for us. Their support helped us get through the race in ways they can never understand. Thanks you guys!


looks like I got the bug.


Scott said...

What a great description of the agony and ecstacy of running a marathon! Almost made me want to run one...but no. I'm so glad I got to see some of it.


Anonymous said...

The race was so exciting. Not only that there were millions of people there but that two of my favorite people were running in it! You guys are spectacular.
And of course you can't wait to run again. I can't wait to spectate again!

KarenB said...

Okay, Leah, I'm at my computer with tears running down my face. I am just so proud of you guys for doing something so amazing, and something I can't picture myself doing in a million years. You really stuck it out through the good and the bad, and someday you'll be telling your grandkids about your first marathon. Mazel Tov!


LeahC said...

Thanks everyone!!!!

It was such an amazing experience and a big part of us able to finish was having such a great support staff both at the race and following at home. You guys are all amazing!

I can't wait to tell our grandkids about it! There is a great full length picture in the newspaper with the start of the race. I'm going to frame it along with the newspaper print out of our times. So exciting!!!

Anonymous said...

Great job you two!! Since following Scott and Sue since June or when ever and reading all you have done for them, It was great that he could make it back to show his support for your running.

Lisa T. said...

I will spectate your little running feet anyday. So glad to be a part of the Red team!

Congrats you guys...Lisa

Cindy said...

I must agree you do seem to have contracted the "marathon bug". I would have bet on that happening after seeing the looks & smiles on your faces at mile 1, mile 8, mile 12 & mile 21...even when going uphill at the end.
Congratulations on meeting your goal & for challenging yourselves to be disciplined in training these past many months. Very cool.

Danny said...


double congratulations!!

Sarah said...

Wow! What an awesome experience...I am sad that I couldn't be there to see it in person but loved reading the play by play. Whoever that was that called you slow is WRONG. You guys are amazing! Yay for running marathons and wanting to do it again.

WADDLER26.2 said...

GREAT BLOG- I ran also.This was my second. Great job on describing the experience.